Sleep and Mental Health: Why Rest Matters
May is Mental Health Awareness month, and according to Sleep Scientist and Beam Partner Dr. Carleara Weiss, sleep can have enormous and far-reaching impacts on your mental health. Read on to learn how proper rest can change your brain for the better.
We all know what the morning after a sleepless night feels like: you’re irritable, low-energy, and completely unable to focus. By that 3PM meeting, you’re totally checked out.
But the consequences of poor sleep don’t always end the day after. According to Dr. Carleara Weiss, chronic sleep issues can lead to more serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Dr. Weiss explains:
“We have two different sleep cycles, called REM (rapid eye movement) and non-REM (no rapid eye movement). It is essential to go through the sleep cycles over a night of sleep to allow the brain to process cognition (thinking ability, memory, and learning) and physical performance (immune function, hormone regulation including glucose, growth hormone, and melatonin, among others) as well as overall metabolism. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to ensure that the brain will have enough time to travel through the sleep cycles multiple times, clean all the toxins accumulated during the day, and work to optimize mental and physical performance.”
So what happens to the brain when we don’t sleep well? According to Dr. Weiss, consistent poor sleep can affect several areas of mental health.
Sleep and Depression:
- “Short sleep duration (4-5 hours/night) nearly doubles the likelihood of experiencing sadness, anxiety, and anger.”
- “Approximately 300 million people suffer from depression. Three-quarters of adults experiencing depression also have insomnia.”
- “Women are more likely to experience sleep problems associated with depression.”
Sleep and Anxiety:
- “Anxiety affects approximately 20% of adults in America.”
- “Insomnia is a significant problem for people with anxiety due to ‘hyperarousal,’ which means overstimulation (mind racing). This makes falling asleep very difficult.”
Sleep and Focus:
- “Short-term sleep deprivation (sleeping only 5 hours) decreases REM sleep and reduces attention and concentration. It takes more than 2 nights to recover from one single night of short sleep.”
- “Adults…sleeping approximately 5 hours per night have reduced attention, concentration and are less alert during the day.”
Translation: if you’re struggling with your mental health, the first place to check is your sleep schedule. Are you creating healthy night-time habits? Shutting off your phone at a reasonable hour? Finding ways to wind down so you’re not tossing and turning?If you’re having trouble getting those 7-9 hours, try Dream, our sleep line that contains 5 powerful natural sleep-promoting* ingredients for your best sleep ever. With our proprietary Nano Hemp, Reishi, Magnesium, L-Theanine, and Melatonin blend, you’ll fall asleep fast, sleep better, and wake up refreshed.* Prioritize your sleep, prioritize your mental health.